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Hidden Figures

Bringing together women and non binary people with a background or interest in science, to share their knowledge,  expertise, experience and curiosity. 

In response to conversations during the 2022 Nottingham Festival of Science and Curiosity, with women who wanted to be more involved or explore their  interests in STEM research. Hidden Figures was created as a space for women and non-binary people, who may have faced barriers to exploring and developing their interests for reasons of family, caring, work or immigration status. 


The Hidden Figures Project aims to create space for women, and people who identify as women and/non-binary; to have conversations, develop confidence and share knowledge around their own interests and connections to scientific research. The themes explored throughout the project have been identified through collaborations between artists and scientists, in relation to their own expertise, and in turn through the participation of and collaboration with,  community groups. Each group has focused on topics that affect its members personally, and have used discussions, insights, creative activities and scientific research for further exploration. The project is now in its second year, and we have fostered a collaborative approach that brings together artists, scientists and community groups to explore their interests, share expertise, experience and passion for subjects that effect their lives and work. Together they are sharing knowledge, exchanging skills and telling stories to add their own perspective and cross cultural influence to ongoing scientific research. 

If you are an artist, scientist or community group and would like more information or to get involved with future projects please get in touch, we would love to hear from you. 

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Hidden Figures 2024

Messy Kitchen for Better Sleep is the first iteration and outcome of the Hidden Figures Project, 2024.

A collaboration between artist Chiara Dellerba, scientist Emma Sweeney (NTU) and Heya - a non-profit organisation based in Nottingham, that provides support to empower, improve integrity and build a stronger community among Arab women.

Messy Kitchen for Better Sleep takes nutrition and food as primary objects to investigate how sleep and sleep disorders affect women’s health. Starting with the question: What does good sleep mean to you? The group gathered over the course of two months to reflect, share, collect knowledge and develop mutual support around the topic. Scientific facts mixed with folk medicine and traditional recipes from different countries have been shaping the project throughout its development. Alongside these discussions; cooking, rearranging, dismantling, rebuilding, rethinking, reimagining, eating and provoking, became the main ingredients which create the multilayered nature of Messy Kitchen for Better Sleep.

This iteration of the project culminates in a public programme led by Heya taking place at Green's Windmill and Science Center; around; food making, conviviality and knowledge sharing. A playful mini series of workshops, recipe sharing, a scientific guide to kitchen ingredients all around a communal table; where findings and collective solutions are shared. Messy Kitchen for Better Sleep aims to shed light on the power that a holistic approach, cross cultural collaboration and collective reflection, have in supporting women’s health and developing long term tactics to better quality of sleep. 

Read more and book your place here 

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Photograph of the Heya women's group, during a bread making workshop at Green's Windmill and Science Center. 

Hidden Figures, 2023

The first iteration of Hidden Figures in 2023, was based at City Arts and expanded to work with existing groups around the City including; When Women Gather and the Pamoja Women Together Group at the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum.


Throughout the project artist Rebecca Beinart worked with the group to explore their ideas and interests through creative activities. These activities resulted in connections made across communities, cultures and time. Women from these groups have, through conversation and creativity shared knowledge of: recipes, herbalism, remedies, rituals, sustainability, self sufficiency and care.

The project culminated with the Hidden Figures Tasting Session - a feast for the senses brought together from local recipes, herbalist research and archival concoctions, that took place during the 2023 Nottingham Festival of Science and Curiosity. During the event the group invited people to join them for an evening. In celebration of the project the group created this session for tasting, sharing and exchanging recipes, remedies and knowledge with a wider audience. The event also showcased a book that became a collection of stories, recipes, wisdom and research shared by different women throughout the project, history and scientific research. The audience were invited to add to the book throughout the evening. The Hidden Figures book is now housed in The Nottingham Women's Center Library. 

Hidden Figures celebrates the knowledge of all self-identifying women and non- binary folk who aren't currently working in science for reasons of family, care, health, work or immigration status. This project was funded through an Awards for All grant from the National Lottery Community Fund in 2023. 

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